WEBINAR: Law and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Trials of Palestine

A Talk with Author Steve Zipperstein

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About the Book
During the British Mandate for Palestine (1922–1948), Arabs and Jews repeatedly used the law to gain leverage and influence international opinion, especially in three dramatic and largely forgotten trials involving two issues: the interplay between conflicting British promises to the Arabs and Jews during World War I, and the parties’ rights and claims to the Wailing Wall.

Focusing on how all three parties – Arab, Jewish, and British – used the law and the legal process to advance their objectives during the Mandate years, this volume reveals how the parties availed themselves – with varying degrees of success – of the law and the legal process. The book examines various legal arguments they proffered, and how that early tendency to resort to the law as a tool, a resource, and a weapon in the conflict has continued to this day. The research relies almost entirely on primary source documents, including transcripts of the public and secret testimony before the Shaw, Lofgren, and Peel Commissions, diaries, letters, government files, and other original sources.

This study explores the origins of many of the fundamental legal arguments in the Arab–Israeli conflict that prevail to this day. Filling a gap in research, this is a key text for scholars and students interested in the Arab–Israeli conflict, Lawfare, and the Middle East.



About the Author


Steven E. Zipperstein, a former U.S. federal prosecutor, is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Middle East Development at UCLA. He also teaches in UCLA’s Global Studies program and School of Public Affairs.

Zipperstein practiced law for nearly 37 years in California, Washington D.C. and New York/New Jersey. During his legal career Zipperstein worked as a law firm litigator, a federal prosecutor and Justice Department official, and as the Chief Legal Officer for two large companies, BlackBerry Ltd. and Verizon Wireless.

During his service as a United States federal prosecutor, Zipperstein tried more than a dozen federal felony jury trials (including the first-ever prosecution against the owners of a failed savings and loan during the late 1980s), and he argued 23 cases before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. During 1992-93 Zipperstein served in Washington D.C. as Special Counsel to former Criminal Division Chief (later FBI Director and Trump/Russia Special Counsel) Robert S. Mueller III. Attorney General Janet Reno appointed Zipperstein to serve as her Counsel during the 1995 congressional hearings regarding the 1993 events at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

Zipperstein graduated from UCLA in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with highest honors, and received his law degree in 1983 from U.C. Davis, where he graduated Order of the Coif and served as a Law Review Editor and member of the Moot Court Board. Zipperstein has taught at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and published several law review articles. He has testified before Congress on telecommunications policy issues numerous times.

Zipperstein has been elected to the American Law Institute and named a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

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Published: Friday, May 15, 2020